For patients experiencing problems with movement or the completion of everyday activities, physical therapy may provide relief. Physical therapy works to help you move more freely without discomfort.
Whether your problem stems from an injury, surgery, or another cause, an MD Now physical therapist can work with you to help you achieve goals. From getting in and out of bed, or up and down stairs more easily, to simply walking with less discomfort, we’ll help you get the care you need to make life a little easier.
Types of Problems Treated
Although most physical therapists are trained to handle a range of problems, some specialize in specific areas. In general, a physical therapist at MD Now Urgent Care can help with the following:
- Back soreness
- Neck soreness
- Joint or extremity soreness
- Work related injuries
- Sports related injuries
- Auto accidents
- Certain types of wound care
- Recovery from a recent surgery i.e.; orthopedic surgery, etc.
- Therapy for children and older adults
Types of Physical Therapy
The three most common types of physical therapy are exercise, manipulation, and manual therapy.
Exercise: Most physical therapy involves some form of exercise. The specific type of exercise will depend on your particular injury, illness, or medical condition. Exercise is defined as any activity you do over and above your usual daily activity, with the goal of improving strength, flexibility, endurance, or coordination. It can also involve changes to the way you perform your daily activities.
For the purpose of physical therapy, exercise typically involves stretching to reduce pressure on joints, strengthening the core muscles (back, abdomen, and hips), muscle strengthening, and activities like water aerobics and walking.
In addition to working with the MD Now physical therapist on site, you may be prescribed an exercise program to perform on your own at home. The goal of the exercise regimen will be to help you improve your fitness level and avoid additional problems.
Manual Therapy: In addition to exercise, manual therapy, sometimes called bodywork, is an important part of any physical therapy regimen. Specifically, manual therapy is used to relax the body, improve flexibility, and reduce discomfort. There are three basic types of manual therapy your physical therapist may use.
Massage: The application of pressure on muscles and other soft body tissue, usually by hand, to help relax the muscles, ease soreness, and improve blood circulation.
Manipulation: A frequently used technique in which the therapist applies pressure to the joint, either by hand or a specialized manipulation device; pressure may be gentle and light or strong and forceful depending on the needs of the patient.
Mobilization: Carefully measured movements that pull, push, and twist bones into their proper positioning; helps with alignment and flexibility by loosening joint tissues.Back to Top
Other Forms of Physical Therapy
In addition to manual manipulation and exercise, education is often used to help patients:
- Improve function by performing home exercises
- Protect joints to prevent further injury
- Safely perform everyday tasks
- Use crutches, a wheelchair, or other assisting devices
- Improve the safety of the home environment, making it more suitable for special needs
Other forms of physical therapy offers specialized treatments from therapists who have received specific training (call to determine if we have a therapist working that provides these) in areas such as:
- Wound care: Includes long-term care of wounds that are slow to heal; may include bandage changing, wound cleaning, increasing blood flow; and occasionally, oxygen treatment and/or electrical stimulation.
- Vestibular rehabilitation: Frequently used to improve vertigo (the sensation of the spinning or tilting of your surroundings) and other balance issues; usually trains a patient to know when to expect these sensations and how to safely respond to them.
Other treatments that may be recommended as part of physical therapy include:
- Cold and ice therapy: Helps relieve soreness, swelling, and inflammation caused by an injury, or a condition such as arthritis; may take the form or cooling lotions or sprays, but most often requires the application of ice several times a day for periods of roughly 20 minutes.
- Heat therapy: Applied to sore muscles and stiff joints to help relieve discomfort and increase circulation; sometimes used to relax a muscle before exercising (heat should not be applied too soon after an injury to avoid increased swelling).
- Electrical stimulation: Uses a low-level electrical current to tense or contract the muscle; used to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort; may also be used as a means of healing broken bones and wounds.
- Ultrasound therapy: Type of therapy using high-pitched sound waves to relax muscles or ease muscle spasms; works to reduce inflammation, relieve discomfort, and encourage healing.
How Physical Therapy Helps
Most often, physical therapy is used to help patients recover from an existing injury, prevent a future one, or cope with ongoing conditions such as osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal stenosis.
Goals of physical therapy include:
- Reducing soreness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Greater flexibility
- Improved function and range of motion
- Better muscle strength
- Learning new ways to accomplish daily activities
- Reducing the chance of re-injury
What to Expect During Physical Therapy
The physical therapist will examine you and discuss your symptoms as they pertain to your daily activities. The therapist will then develop a treatment plan to improve joint movement and increase strength, endurance, range of motion, coordination, balance, and other goals.
Typically, the most immediate goal of physical therapy is to reduce discomfort and swelling. This is often accomplished through manual therapy, education, and various techniques such as cold, heat, ultrasound, water therapy, and electrical stimulation.
Exercise will likely also be a part of the physical therapy treatment plan, and include some combination of stretching, strengthening, weight lifting, and walking. You may also be asked to follow some kind of exercise program at home.
Physical therapy treatments may cause some soreness or swelling. This is perfectly normal, but if it persists or becomes bothersome, talk to your physical therapist about possible solutions.Back to Top
Finding a Qualified Physical Therapist
It’s best to work with a physical therapist who’s experienced in your particular problem or condition. Many therapists are certified in specific areas such as sports, orthopedics, or neurology. A physical therapist may also have expertise in a particular type of care, such as wound, cardiac rehab, back and neck soreness, or cancer.
To locate a specialist experienced with your particular condition or problem, contact your neighborhood MD Now Urgent Care Center. We’ll help you find a qualified physical therapist at a location that’s convenient for you.Back to Top
“The above is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. If you require medical advice or treatment, you should go to MD Now Urgent Care, your physician, or the nearest ER for evaluation.”